The indoctrination has begun. Smiley faces for coloring inside the lines. None if you don’t. Patriotic songs and books about the American flag. Discussions of the differences between boys and girls. Gold stars for filing orderly out of the building during a practice run for an escape from a fiery death.


It’s the coloring that set me off. The P-Nut came home 2 days in a row with happy faces on her colored-in pictures of shapes. Yellow star. Orange square. She used the prescribed color. Stayed near the proper borders.

Day 3 she comes home with a rectangle. Colored in orange and green and black. Half colored. In the borders she has written recognizable M’s and A’s. Backwards D’s. Partial people. Imaginary worlds. Cool shit. This time, the neat smiley face of a more disciplined adult hand is missing. What. The fuck.

Homeschooling. That’s the answer. I leap to it quickly. Let her imagination run wild. Let her facile mind pursue what ever makes its synapses crackle.

I don’t have a college degree. Or a high school one, technically. GED.

Ok, not homeschooling.

But . . .she’s so creative and unique. She tells great stories. Big, whopping, lies. She makes up elaborate games using characters she’s seen on tv or in books mixed with ones from her own growing brain. She doesn’t need the lines. The lines are just holding her down, man. Boxing her in. Maaaan!

I know. I’m ridiculous. I tell myself this after the coloring incident. Then she comes home talking and talking about how this one is a boy and that one is a girl. It’s so important at her age for her to begin to recognize the stereotypes and support the traditional gender roles.


I never learned to color inside the lines. Or to be quiet in class. Or behave. And here I sit. A good father. A literate person.

A person re-embarking on a college career. Junior college. Terrified of my lack of organizational skills; my inability to see a course of education through; my heretofore unwillingness to work within a certain order to achieve certain ends.

Maybe school is for the best. At home, she can color where ever she wants. Her little brother doesn’t mind. He looks great in Crayola.